The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”
God's word is trustworthy and true, yet at the same time it also holds incredible mystery. In complex issues I have found that it is important to be able to hold these apparently opposite perspectives in balance. One of the places where this has been important to me given my scientific background has been the Evolution / Creation Science debate. The debate has been so fierce and the lines drawn so fixed that that no one can move from their entrenched positions for fear of giving ground to the other side. There is no freedom to think from either side. I realise that when I rehearse the views of one side or the other, I am joining in the problem. I am not free to think things through because of that same fear ground given.
Jesus had an amazing way of cutting through debate to the crux of an issue. When the religious leaders tested him with the difficult issues of the day, they were astounded by his answers. When challenged about whether money should be given to Caesar in taxes, he did not answer yes or no. Rather he came out with a profoundly simple illustration. The coin used to pay taxes had Caesar's head on it. He said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.” (Mark 12:17 NIV) What was Caesar's? The Coins. What was God's? Our very selves, for we are all created in the image of God. A profound answer that does not quite fall into either Yes or No camp but gives a principle through which we know more of who God is and our relationship with him.
In this way a new insight took me to a deeper understanding in the first case of the issue of the creation of the Universe, but ultimately of how the Lord reveals himself. The book of Hebrews tells us “His work has been finished since the creation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3 NIV) The implication of this is that we are currently living in the 7th day and hence that these days of creation are not necessarily 24 hour periods.
This realisation brought great freedom to look again at Genesis 1&2. I began to see how these two chapters behave very much like complementary prophetic passages of the same thing. The aim of the passage is to tell us about God and his relationship with his creation. We are given then two very different perspectives which must be held together in order to understand. First we see a picture of the Lord of creation commanding the creation into existence. He says and it happens. The end of his creation is man (male & female), created together in his image to rule the universe. The picture is one of authority, rule and power. Secondly we see the LORD God creating an environment in which to place man. It is a place of beauty, with tastes and sounds and smells. The LORD God is serving his creation in love. He finds that the creation he has made has something missing, man is alone. He creates the animals to see if they will satisfy, but they do not. The LORD God therefore has to take something out of the man in order to make the woman, in order that his companion would be of the same nature. The resolution cost the man, there was pain and loss in order to have this companion. Love is not cheap!
Together these snap shots of creation give us a much deeper picture of the Lord. They show us two dimensions that are needed together. The views appear mildly incompatible. This does not make them wrong but shows the limitations of our imagination, and the way we approach these texts. We hold the two together as a mystery because God is bigger than any image we can hold of him.
[This page is one of a series on my struggles with the evolution debate. Sceptic to faith has links to others.]
THE MYSTERY OF CREATION